Get the Most from Real Money Online Casinos with this Detailed New Player’s Guide
You are in for a surprise in 2021 when it comes to online casinos. The days of a few crash prone Flash games and basic slots are long gone. In fact, those beginning the journey to enjoying online casinos in 2021 would barely recognize the games from 10 years ago.
There are 4 main areas which have changed. Each of them is covered in more detail (along with important tips and advice) below:
- Safe and Easy: As long as you stick to the well-known regulated brands, you’ll find casino gaming to be totally safe these days. Casinos which do not provide quality service, speedy cash-outs and treat their players fairly do not last very long… the internet has empowered players to share info on the bad apples – and they do not last very long.
- Entertaining: Games have come on a long way, especially over the last few years. Faster computers, better networks have enabled games which include console game quality, amazing bonus rounds (in the case of many slots) and even live streamed games with real dealers.
- Jackpots: Every week players are winning $100,000+ jackpots and $1,000,000+ jackpots are won at least monthly. The size of these prizes can surprise new players, with the largest pot won online a cool 17.3 million Euros.
- Platforms: At one time you needed to download casino games onto a Windows PC just to play. Now you can access the games on mobile phones, tablets or laptops via your browser or sometimes via dedicated apps.
US Casinos and Worldwide Casinos – The Big Divide
Playing online casinos for real money from the US is not illegal – though there are restrictions on banks for processing transactions marked as ‘gambling’. For this reason, casinos allowing US players are based outside of the country, mostly in the Caribbean. Many game developers allow these casinos to license their games, though many of the biggest ones (especially from listed companies) do not.
This means that US players access different casinos, play different games and slots and have to deal with different payment methods compared to those in the rest of the world.
You can find out more on US casino slots in this article.
High Tech Gambling Recommended Beginners Casino Sites
When it comes to choosing casinos to recommend, I have strict criteria.
To appear on High Tech Gambling a casino needs a track record of 5+ years with no major scandals or payment issues. They need to accept major payment options (credit cards for example) and they need to have external testing of game fairness.
The recommendations below not only meet these criteria, they offer the best games, bonuses and player promotions for your location:
|BEST ONLINE CASINOS|
|BEST ONLINE CASINOS FOR US PLAYERS|
Entertaining Casino Games – The World of Online Casino Gaming in 2021
The biggest innovations are happening in 2 completely different areas of casino games – slots and live dealer casinos. There are plenty of other options beside these, which I have covered below.
#1 Slots: If you thought that slots were a matter of lining up bells or sevens, then you are in for a shock. Casino slots have become a mini-entertainment genre all of their own in recent years. The themes range from movie tie-ins, to ancient Rome though to the crazy and humor-filled. Break out bonuses with video clips, interaction and the chance of big (often extremely big) jackpot windfalls add to the interest.
I strongly recommend new players check out these games (you can play them in demo mode) to get an idea of just how far things have come. Here are some articles to help you find the right games:
#2 Live Dealer Games: Real dealers now run the games at many online casinos. Better technology has made it possible to stream games in real time from studios dotted around the world – and to integrate betting on these with your mouse. Many games are played ‘one to many’. Here the dealers play a single hand from start to finish, and you can choose your action (usually bet or fold) at certain points. Casino Holdem, 3-Card Poker, Baccarat and Roulette all work well in this format. Blackjack games are usually 7-handed, as in a brick and mortar casino – in this format you will be playing beside 6 other people from around the world.
For me, live dealer games bring the table game genre to life. You can chat (via text) with the dealer or other players too. These games also take away that nagging doubts about the deal being fair (you can see the cards being dealt right in front of you).
Check out these articles for more on live dealer casino games:
- Live Dealer 3 Card Poker at 888 Casino
- Live Dealer Online Blackjack for US Players
- American Casino Live Dealer Roulette
You’ll find guides to many more types of casino game here. Some of them maintain the traditional vibes and action (Video Poker and Craps are two examples). Others have stepped up the entertainment factor – for example the 100’s of Blackjack variations available or Roulette games with jackpots like PlayTech’s Marvel Roulette. I have created many in-depth guides to these games - covering both the setup and your optimal strategies. The best starting point is the Online Casino Table Games main page.
Casino Jackpots in 2021 – Where to Find the Big Money
For me the chance of becoming an instant millionaire is one of the key things that keep online casino games exciting.
In 2018, there is no shortage of jackpots to be won.
Most of these are tied to slots and range from a few thousand dollars / pounds / euros through to 5 million or more. Here are the main types:
- Linked Progressive Jackpots: The biggest casino slot developers have a global reach, their games are available at 1000’s of casinos in some cases. This allows them to offer linked jackpots. These can be won on certain games (Mega Moolah, Mega Fortune or The Dark Knight) at any of the casinos. With so many players participating, the prize pool can escalate quickly. These are usually the multi-million jackpots which make all the headlines.
- Shared Progressive Jackpots: Some casinos link jackpots between different games. You can scoop 6-figure prize at PlayTech casinos at any one of 12+ slots themed on the Marvel Movies. Another example here is the IGT Mega Jackpots’, which is linked between slots including Monopoly and Cleopatra (as well as between different online casinos). Expect high 6 figures through to a couple of million with these games.
- Individual Slot / Casino Jackpots: Some casinos are big enough to have games with their own jackpots, which can also reach the million+ range. A personal favorite in this category is the Millionaire Genie from 888 Casino.
- Smaller Jackpots: There are 100’s more jackpots out there. While they might be dwarfed by the huge sums above, these can still reach 5 or 6 figures. Some slots have 4 levels of jackpot prizes. You can win the ‘mini’ through to the ‘mega’.
Jackpots for US Players
The fragmented offshore casino industry does not support the same amount of pooling / sharing of jackpots as the big worldwide casinos. Only the biggest games maker – RealTime Gaming – offer a $1,000,000+ prize. This is part of their ‘Reel Series’ slot games. What I like about this is that it is awarded completely at random – not tied to the symbols on a particular spin. You’ll find these games at the excellent Bovada Casino – www.bovada.lv.
Table Game Jackpots
Big prizes are not only for the slots players. Some table games also offer you the chance to win big money. The format of these is via a side-game bet. Examples are Caribbean Stud (progressive jackpots which pay out on a Royal Flush) and Marvel Roulette (PlayTech specific game where you can reach an extra Marvel Reel). Note that these side-bets do have a cost, the ‘house edge’ is higher than for regular games.
Online Casino Bonuses for Beginners
The key thing that new players need to focus on with casino bonuses is that they are NOT all the same!
While the headlines ‘100% to $100’, ‘200% to $500’ might look similar – the real value of them will usually come from differences in the specific terms.
There are 3 key things to look out for before you jump in and take a bonus:
- What is the ‘Play Through’ requirement. All bonuses will require that you wager the amount a certain number of times before your bonus can be withdrawn. This ranges from 20x (rare, though possible!) to the more usual 30x to 40x range. Look out for casinos asking for 50-times or more wager-through, this will take you a long time and increases the risk that you will bust out before you meet the requirement.
- Are certain games restricted? Some casinos ban roulette completely (for example) or even have clauses that say betting on certain games void your bonus. More common is a ‘weighting’ given to table games, where they only count a certain percentage of your wager against the play-through requirement. A common example is that Blackjack wagers only count at 25%.
- Is your bonus cashable at all? Some bonuses can be withdrawn once you have met your play-through requirement, others can be used for real money play, though can’t be taken out of the casino.
I have created a casino bonuses section here at High Tech Gambling, which looks into this topic in more depth and gives you side-by-side comparisons of different casino bonuses. Check it out here: Online Casino Bonuses.
Your Loyalty Should be Rewarded
Here is a key tip for new casino players: Over time, loyalty rewards at your chosen casino(s) will make a far bigger difference to your bankroll than the welcome bonus!
These rewards can take several forms, and I recommend that you make sure that your casino offers all of them:
- Comp or Loyalty Point Scheme: Every time you make a bet, you should be accumulating points towards future bonuses. These points can usually be exchanged either for bonuses or for cash (at a lower rate). The best casinos have a tiered point collection scheme, where you get better rewards for moving through different levels. You will often accumulate points faster as you climb.
- Reload Bonuses: If you need to reload your bankroll, then make sure you choose a casino that is prepared to offer a bonus for this. Reload bonuses can be at 100%, though are sometimes smaller (50% for example). You will clear these in the same way you cleared your welcome bonus.
- Player Promotions / Specials: The very best casinos look after their loyal players with promotions and special offers every week. These can be tied to specific games, be casino tournaments or simply offer money back or extra points for achieving small missions.
Comparing casino promotions reveals some casinos are way ahead of the rest when it comes to keeping their players bankroll’s topped up.
The best beginners casinos listed below are all rated very highly in this area (particularly Bovada for US players and 888 for those worldwide).
|BEST ONLINE CASINOS|
|BEST ONLINE CASINOS FOR US PLAYERS|
Beginners Mobile Casinos
Before you go to the App Store seeking for casinos, let me explain how the casino world works on different platforms.
First, gambling apps are not available in the App Store.
Second, most casinos have not got these anyway.
Instead the technology in use works in your browser. Once you check out how far this tech has come on, you will not even need to consider an app!
With mobile casinos, everyone will claim to be compatible. For me, when you look into this in more detail there are 2 types of games:
- Truly Mobile Compatible Games: Those that have been developed with smaller touch-screens in mind.
- Adapted Games: These can work ok, though many will have elements which are obviously not properly adapted for small screens or touch-screen inputs.
The only real way of telling the two apart is to get testing. Luckily I have been doing this for well over a year already! You can find the results in several articles here at High Tech Gambling:
Staying Safe at Online Casinos
At the start of this page I emphasized how important it is to stick to the biggest and best brands when it comes to online casinos.
While you’ll sometimes hear about rogue casinos, this never involves brands with a 5+ year track record of good service. If you check online you will find most casinos have some complaints (usually from people that lost their money making crazy bets!). Those that have issues with payment delays or scandals involving the owners are the ones I recommend you avoid.
Here are some other things to look out for:
- Make sure that your casino has a license. Worldwide these mostly come from the big European jurisdictions including Gibraltar, Malta, Isle of Man or Alderney. For US casinos these can some from Antigua, Panama, Netherlands Antilles or Kahnawake.
- Make sure your casino has external testing. Many companies specialize in testing game fairness. iGaming Labs and eCogra are two with strong reputations. Legitimate casinos always display links to their certificates.
- Make sure your casino has a range of payment options. Only 1 or 2 little known payment options should be a red flag. Reputable casinos should have visa / MasterCard deposits available and for worldwide casinos PayPal, Neteller or other eWallet systems should be in place.
You can find more about casino safety and deal fairness below:
Beginners Guide to Deposits and Withdrawals at Online Casinos
This part of the beginners guide is more for US based players than those worldwide. Outside of the US the options available are super-easy – you use your bank / credit card like for any other online purchase, PayPal also works.
In the US there are restrictions on domestic gambling transactions. Individuals are not breaking any federal laws making these, though the banks could be penalized.
Here are your options for depositing at online casinos (withdrawing covered below)
- Credit Cards: Visa, MasterCard and sometimes AMEX will work at most casinos. You’ll be making an international purchase. Sometimes the payment processors block your transaction, though they do through the majority of the time these days. Trying again on a different day, or using a back-up card instead of your main one can help.
- Pre-Paid Cards: These usually use the Visa system, and can be bought from gas stations and convenience stores. I recommend checking with your casino before heading out – some brands work better than others.
- Money Transfer Services: You can ‘wire’ money to individuals via services like Western Union or MoneyGram to deposit at casinos. This is a reliable deposit method, though does involve finding your local branch and taking along cash.
- BitCoin: Many casinos will accept BTC deposits. These will be converted to dollars right away, and you’ll play / keep your account in dollars. BitCoin wallets are simple enough to set up, making this an increasingly attractive option.
Those are the big 4 methods, you might also find other pre-paid / voucher type methods available.
The offshore US casinos are masters at money management (their business could not survive without it after all). I recommend you speak to the support staff at your casino if you have any difficulty at all in getting money through.
Fortunately, US banks will take checks from offshore casinos and process them normally. This makes a paper check (either via mail or courier) the number one method of withdrawing your winnings from a casino. Other alternatives include wires (often expensive, though good for larger wins) or sometimes BitCoin.
More articles covering casino payment options:
Beginner Casino Players Guide – Wrapping it all up
Casinos continue to develop new and exciting games, jackpots which can literally change your life are being won every week – and (as long as you stick with the best brands), the industry has never been more safe and reputable.
The sites below pass the rigid criteria to be a High Tech Gambling rec, check one out for yourself now!
|BEST ONLINE CASINOS|
|BEST ONLINE CASINOS FOR US PLAYERS|